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REVIEW: "The 39 Steps" at Mile Square Theatre

By Adam F. Cohen

REVIEW: "The 39 Steps" at Mile Square Theatre

Ingenious.  Captivating.  Hysterical.  Thoroughly entertaining.  Those are just some of the adjectives which describe Mark Shanahan’s production of The 39 Steps playing at Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken.

Ostensibly a thriller, in the hands of these four resourceful actors all but our protagonist Richard Hannay (Joe Delafield) play multiple characters in this adaption of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1935 film. The 39 Steps was originally a big, serious, movie about spies between the wars, dashing heroes and classy dames. There was gorgeous black-and-white Scottish and English scenery, and that tingling, suspenseful finale at the London Palladium.

In the hands of this nimble cast under the sterling direction of Mark Shanahan, one’s imagination must recreate the suspense elements like a train roof chase here portrayed gingerly stepping over steamer trunks.

REVIEW: "The 39 Steps" at Mile Square Theatre

The plot finds Richard Hannay (Joe Delafield), a debonair 37-year-old bachelor in London, bored one evening at the theater alone. A mysterious woman in black, Annabella Schmidt (Alycia Kunkle), fires a gun in the middle of a memory-artist’s act and asks for Richard’s help. Let me hide in your flat, she begs, presumably because he is a debonair 37-year-old bachelor without a date. She regales him about the spies pursuing her and hints at weaponry-related secrets that could threaten Britain’s security. Annabella is murdered in the night, and Richard must go on the run to find the leader of the spy ring and clear himself of any connection with Annabella’s death. Thus, the train and the ensuing chases.  Delafield is an affable lead - he preens, postures, and grows into a credible hero.

Richard encounters an extraordinary number of colorful people most played as Clown No. 1 and Clown No. 2, Zachary Fine and Evan Zes in over 100 roles. Their characters include a milkman, a newsboy, a cleaning woman, a train conductor, theater performers, politicians, secret agents, husband-and-wife Scottish hoteliers, traveling lingerie salesmen and a wide variety of law enforcement officials. Their brilliant quick-change artistry filled with clever costumes (Peter Fogel) and astute props (Emmett Grosland) including hats, clothing, wigs and accents in fractions of a second – sometimes mid-sentence.  Knuckle plays multiple female roles - garnering a German accent (channels Madeline Kahl in Blazing Saddles) and is a pleasant, ernest performance.



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Wide eyed Hitchcock fans will enjoy the numerous homage through out the script (Patrick Barlow) including a crop-dusting plane tries to run down our hero. The heroine (Alycia Kunkle) suffering from vertigo. The hotel desk with the sign saying, “Dial M for meal service.”

Shanahan’s assured direction – comes from having played the Hannay role on Broadway and directing the play through out the country.  Mile Square Theatre serves as a perfect location for this ingenious, crafty, irreverent production as the four actors earnestly try to tell the tale. Sit up close to the action and play along with the actors.  It’s high fun, witty, high-energy show that brews breezy holiday spirit and captivates the attention of kids of all ages.

The 39 Steps is on stage now through December 23rd. Mile Square Theatre is located at 1400 Clinton Street in Hoboken, New Jersey. Tickets are available online.

REVIEW: "The 39 Steps" at Mile Square Theatre

Photos by Joe Epstein



originally published: 2017-12-04 00:00:00


Upcoming Events

"Art" Gets Rave Reviews At Centenary Stage

"Art" Gets Rave Reviews At Centenary Stage

(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Critics are raving about Centenary Stage Company’s all – star production of Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award winning Art which continues its run in the Lackland Performing Arts Center now through March 4. “This production directed by the multi-talented Anne Occhiogrosso, starring a trio of outstanding Broadway, film and television vets, Randall Duk Kim, Kevin Carolan and CSC’s own Carl Wallnau provides an exceptional theater experience worthy of any stage.” (Rick Busciglio, NJ Footlights).


Pegasus Production Company Presents Fiddler on the Roof

Pegasus Production Company Presents Fiddler on the Roof

(LINCROFT, NJ) -- Marking the conclusion of their thirty-second season, Pegasus Production Company presents the beloved musical Fiddler on the Roof at the Henderson Theatre on the Christian Brothers Academy campus. Originally produced on Broadway by Harold Prince and revived on the Great White Way five times since, the classic theatrical staple features a book by Joseph Stein and music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Six performances will take place between March 2-10.


East Lynne Theater To Enjoy "Thankful Thursday" at Cold Spring Brewery

East Lynne Theater To Enjoy "Thankful Thursday" at Cold Spring Brewery

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company is enjoying another "Thankful Thursday" at Cold Spring Brewery on March 8 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. Like ELTC's special Thursday last March, there will be free snacks, and the brewery will give ELTC a percentage of the receipts, but this year, there's also live music. The location is 733 Seashore Road, Cape May, at Historic Cold Spring Village.


Playwrights In Matheny's Arts Access Program Part of Stages Festival

Playwrights In Matheny's Arts Access Program Part of Stages Festival

(PEAPACK, NJ) --- New Jersey Theatre Alliance presents staged readings from plays written by five playwrights in the Matheny Medical and Educational Center’s Arts Access Program, which empowers individuals with disabilities to create art without boundaries. The readings will be presented on Saturday, March 3 from 3:00pm-4:30pm at the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center on the Matheny campus.  This event, titled “Plays by People,” is part of the Alliance’s Stages Festival, the state’s largest annual theatre festival that provides free and discounted theatre events for all ages throughout the month of March. 








EVENT CALENDAR
Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018

ART @ Centenary Stage Company - Sitnik Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 2:00pm

American Hero @ George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick - 8:00pm



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